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How Air Evac Lifeteam is helping crews prepare for a pilot incapacitation event

When the pilot of an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter suffered an in-flight medical emergency on Jan. 12, 2018, two things on board the Bell 206L LongRanger helped achieve a successful outcome. The first was a recently installed Genesys HeliSAS stability augmentation system and autopilot, which kept the aircraft stable until the pilot recovered enough faculties to land in an open field. The second was the high-functioning team of flight paramedic Lane Abshire and flight nurse Tara Coupel, whose refusal to give up was just as instrumental in getting the helicopter safely to the ground.

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Does the helicopter industry have a people problem?

In March 2018, at the industry?s marquee event ? Helicopter Association International (HAI) Heli-Expo ? academics from the University of North Dakota (UND) told the industry it was facing a very real, and very severe labor shortage. Based on interviews and surveys completed by 250 helicopter companies and operators, the UND predicted a shortfall of 7,649 helicopter pilots and 40,613 mechanics (across all aviation sectors) in the U.S. between 2018 and 2036. Such numbers would clearly have a staggering impact on the industry.

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